by Jo Grindley
The venues for the eighth season of the RC44 Championship Tour have now been confirmed. Two new venues will make their debut, alongside three RC44 favorites. The season will start in the Caribbean next February, where the class will be welcomed for the first time by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Virgin Gorda.
RC44 fleet racing in Lanzarote during the RC44 Championship 2013
The fleet will then travel across the Atlantic to Europe where they will compete at three European events in Cascais, Portugal; Marstrand, Sweden; and for the first time Sotogrande, Spain before crossing the 4000nm to Muscat, Oman for the final event of the season.
2014 RC44 Tour Schedule:
12 – 16 February – Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
23 – 27 April – Cascais, Portugal
25 – 29 June - Sotogrande, Spain
13 – 17 August – Marstrand, Sweden
19 – 23 November – Muscat, Oman
Making its debut, the 2014 RC44 Championship Tour will kick off in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. One of the world’s premier sailing destinations, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) comprises of an archipelago of more than 25 islands set amid the turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea. Hosted by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS), the teams can expect a regular 15-20 knots of breeze in crystal clear waters. Although there will still be one day of match racing followed by four days of fleet racing, the format will be adapted to include a long distance race around the island.
Dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda - 2012 Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup
April will see the fleet return to Europe as the Clube Naval de Cascais host the second event of the Tour in the picturesque bay of Cascais, Portugal for the third year.
Also making its debut on the 2014 Tour is the Andalusia town of Sotogrande; stretching along southern Spain’s Mediterranean coastline between Gibraltar and Marbella. This beautiful location will provide the teams with the dependable westerly Poniente, the strongest easterly Levante or the southerly Sirocco wind, originating in the Sahara.
August will be the fourth year the RC44 Class has returned to the heart of Swedish sailing, Marstrand, with the event doubling as the classes World Championships. The fleet will then make their winter migration to the Arabian port of Muscat, Oman for the final event of the season.
The 2014 RC44 Championship promises to be another exceptional year and RC44 Class founder Russell Coutts will be keeping a close eye on it, 'I’m looking forward to getting back on the Tour next year. We have some great venues lined up and the competition within the fleet is phenomenal, the Class is growing stronger every year.'